Rainbow
Music for the superhuman

Forum Concert Bowl, Montreal QC, Canada - November 10, 1975


The Forum is a very strange place, a necessary evil. Every time I set foot there, the same thoughts come to my mind: a cultural phenomenon has become a financial enterprise, making initial contact with the music changed over the years, almost brainwashed. The mechanisms put in place to consistently raise a crowd to make people wait at intermission with music that gradually brings the desire very strongly of the presence of the group. Everything is thoroughly assayed for a desired result and invariably found. It's a great machine, which in extreme cases, men have lost control. On the other hand remains very strong desire to get carried away by the current, be enraptured by this new Pied Piper of Hamelin: rock music.

The Forum on Monday night, I was quite prepared to let myself be overwhelmed by the two groups: Argent and Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. As a need to enter a different world, away from earlier concerns. Fortunately. Rod Argent was playing in the first part. The first step inside the walls of the Forum and I was immediately snapped up by music that was floating on clouds, away from the outside world: a huge bubble that enveloped her, without shaking, and yet had many weight (I am not resistant to this point in "hard rock"). My seat, a look at the crowd: the Forum is half full. So people do not trust blindly to these two groups.

In fact an hour of music and respectful of our eardrums, which alone was worth the trip. A group which said it had been a good singer, Rod Argent, he should learn to know better, because of that voice full of weight.

An hour and ten minutes to wait ... to adjust the lighting and repair some electrical problems. An hour and ten unnecessary waiting since the rainbow is designed for the show Rainbow has been delivered in good condition. All those long minutes of patience interspersed unwelcome intervention of the police. 15 police officers inside the Forum for an unhappy thirty people. A little diversion from the crowd appreciated. And boom! Ritchie Blackmore and Rainbow. Another one of those weeks where I will be deaf for two or three days. Ritchie Blackmore, who was part of Deep Purple (we already knew their music, high voltage), formed his own band Rainbow. The reason? The inability to make music he loved, to record "Black Sheep of the Family" with a band like Deep Purple. Hence the birth of "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow." A concert above my strength, and although Blackmore said that with this new group, he may finally step himself in classical and medieval music, the concert still leaves virtually no echo. At most, the "hard rock" panting little suited to my peaceful nature.

And then, a guitarist who masters his instrument so admirable, singer Ronnie James Dio, whose voice blends perfectly with the guitar playing, as stated by Blackmore himself ... what prevents them in any way to make music for supermen. Disarticulated ground on all sides, jet left the Forum, I confess, before the end of the show. One type of gig we could anticipate their first full-length game, but it's more reality than fiction. Their long game is in some way, more enjoyable, more diverse with songs like "Catch the Rainbow" or "Black Sheep in the Family", played softly. These same songs, Rainbow had forgotten until the calm atmosphere during the concert.

Blackmore, in an interview, said he did not like "cool" music because it does not take the public's attention. His music has forced me, however, to win at times. Matter of survival.

Christine L'Heureux, Le Devoir - December 12, 1975  [Translated from French language]

[Thanks to: Tonny Steenhagen for the scan]








Rainbow
Loud, Loud Rainbow Makes Rock Debut

Beacon Theater, New York City NY - November 12, 1975


When Ritchie Blackmore was a member of Deep Purple, the British group made the "Guinness Book of World Records" in the category of loudest rock band. It is a tradition that Mr. Blackmore is intent on maintaining, to judge from the debut of his new group, Rainbow, at the Beacon Theater on Wednesday. The amplification that towers behind him and his quartet is overgenerous even by the bloated sonic standards of the heavy-metal drone rockers.

The opening of his tour was delayed while a new drummer, Cozy Powell, was flown in. Mr. Powell's brand of pound and fury matched Mr. Blackmore's extravagant guitar work in jacking up the decibels. Suffering (but apparently happily so) through all this was Rainbow's singer, Ronnie James Dio, who merely shouted his way with a fine frenzy. This is no band for great subtlety - the intention is to build layers of electronic sound, allied to technical wizardry.

Ian Dove, New York Times - December 14, 1975

[Thanks to: Tonny Steenhagen for the scan]






Rainbow
Beacon Theater, New York City NY - November 12, 1975



The Rainbow that came to New York was in a very real sense a brand new band. Ritchie Blackmore, who walked away from Deep Purple and the security that comes with selling untold millions of records, had assembled a completely new group around himself and singer lyricist Ronnie Dio since recording their successful debut album. When the new Rainbow stepped on stage at the Beacon Wednesday night it was their first-ever gig and the atmosphere was electric with tension and anticipation.

Ronnie Dio fits perfectly into his roll of foil to Blackmore's serious demeanor. Strutting across the stage shaking his mane, pulling those old Stewarty microphone moves, flipping like a flag on a pole, Ronnie rocked the house down while Blackmore stood stage left whipping up storms of electric frenzy. Tony Carey's lush keyboards came to the forefront on the balladic 'Catch The Rainbow', the lyrics almost lost in deep echo as streams of colour poured through the huge Tony Mazzucchi-designed rainbow overlooking the stage. Blackmore's brief solo was his best of the evening.

'Man On The Silver Mountain' was stretched to nearly double its recorded length. Dio's voice recalled Robert Plant in full cry as Cozy Powell's perfectly timed drum smashes pushed him on. Blackmore has always been a staunch admirer of Jeff Beck and Rainbow's show-stopping rock out of the Yardbirds 'Still I'm Sad' made the instrumental album version sound like a warm up for the real thing; Dio making up lyrics on the spot, Blackmore soaring, Powell, climaxing in an orchestrated explosion. As bits of the '1812 Overture' roared through the PA, the former Jeff Beck drummer let loose with cannon shots and explosions.

Any litany of the great vocalist/guitarist combinations of the rock age includes Jagger and Richards, Stewart and Beck, Plant and Page, Daltrey and Townshend. Add to that list the two newest stars in that exalted heaven - Dio and Blackmore.

Dan Nooger, Village Voice - November 1975






Rainbow
Beacon Theater, New York City NY - November 12, 1975



Avoiding a comparison between Deep Purple and Rainbow, Blackmore's latest flight of fancy would be to ignore the obvious; without a score-card, it would have been almost impossible to tell the two bands apart. Rainbow came out in a blaze of light and feedback, electrifying the crowd into a standing ovation. But all the stage gimmicks in the world could not disguise the fact that its music was mostly tedious heavy metal that failed to sustain interest.

Like Purple, this quintet, especially drummer Cozy Powell and singer Ronnie Dio, assume that energy and noise are one and the same thing. The din this band created was mostly pointless. Also like Purple, excessive volume was used to drive this band's high points home. The only exception, curiously enough, was Blackmore himself, who brought the only touch of variety and humor to the music. His emotive blues intro at the start and his precisely picked intro into "Greensleeves" were the most musical moments of the evening. The sludge created by the rest of Rainbow effectively blurred many of Blackmore's other exceptional moments.

Rainbow's set was genius compared to Argent's. The voices were inaudible, the playing was imprecise (except for a few brilliant solos by guitarist John Grimaldi), the music rarely went beyond the riff-verse-riff-chorus-solo-end school of composition, the lighting was out of sync, and no one exhibited any stage presence worth mentioning. "Hold Your Head Up" and "Liar" raised an inkling of attention only because of their familiarity. Considering the quality of their past performances and albums, this was a surprisingly fourth rate show.

Joe Bivona, Billboard Magazine - November 29, 1975






Rainbow
Beacon Theater, New York City NY - November 12, 1975



I remember it being a very rainy night in the city. Argent opened - they were OK although there was no audience reaction at all until "Hold Your Head Up" at the end of their set. Then there was a long wait while the crew tried to fix the buzzing being generated by the rainbow. It was the first time I had seen Blackmore live so it was a big deal for me. Unfortunately the delay caused me to miss the end of the show as I had to rush to catch the last train back to New Jersey [I wasn't old enough to drive yet] so I wound up missing the Stargazer/Light In The Black/Still I'm Sad portion of the show.

John Bella






Rainbow
Beacon Theater, New York City NY - November 12, 1975



I just learned from a close friend that Ronnie James Dio died yesterday. How sad. He was a favorite rock and roll front man of mine. Excellent rock voice. Good song writer.

Back in the 70's I was a huge Deep Purple fan, so when Ritchie Blackmore left the group to form Rainbow, my friends and I were all over their debut album. Then, as luck would have it, we scored great seats to see their United States debut performance at the Beacon Theater in New York City. We had first row seats in the balcony. I brought my Dad's trusty Pentax and two lenses, and a couple of rolls of film.


At this show I was still an amateur with regards to shooting concerts. The light meter in the camera was never right because it would always be averaging all that blackness surrounding the subject. It took several shows of mistakes before I built up the proper knowledge, and confidence, to set the exposure correctly for a given film speed. So, at this show, I had a ton of shots that were exposed brilliantly, but were very blurry. I could have easily rested the long lens right on the balcony rail, but I don't think I did that given the results.

The opening act was Argent. A completely forgettable performance - even the extended performance of their one great hit, "Hold Your Head Up," was a yawner. The crowd just wanted to see Rainbow.

I loved Rainbow's staging. From the iconic rainbow arc of lights framing the stage, the backdrop of the painting from their debut album, and Blackmore's dual stacks of Marshall amplifiers, it was just what you would want a rock and roll show to look like. I always wondered what the tape recorder was used for behind Blackmore.


I was astonished to find that an audio recording of this performance is available on the web. It was indeed quite a kick to listen to it after all these years. I had remembered that the show had a great, long rocking song which was new at the time. I later summized it to be "Stargazer" from their second album, but I really didn't know until I saw the set list for concert which confirmed it. How cool! I also remembered and was impressed by Cozy Powell playing to the "1812 Overture" during his drum solo. I thought that was a clever innovation for the time.

Blackmore did not throw his Strat in the air at the end of the show or smash it, but it was a great performance. A few years later I saw Rainbow again at the Capital Theater in New Jersey. There Blackmore did toss his guitar very high in the air - and I got photos of it. I'll post those photos in a future blog post.

Elliot Gould - The Render Edge Blogspot, May 17, 2010






Rainbow
Beacon Theater, New York City NY - November 12, 1975


I saw the 2nd show on that 1st tour at the Beacon Theater in New York. If you don't like R & R was done as a encore. I took some pictures but they did not turn out that great. Cameras were not the same as they are today. 4th row in front of Ritchie. Awesome night!

George Martin - Darker Than Blue 2014







Rainbow
Tower, Philadelphia PA - November 15, 1975



By the time he turned 17, he was playing lead guitar for the British rock madman, Screaming Lord Sutch. "Working with him was terrifying! He taught me showmanship. He taught me to get out and give it to the people."

Then, for a ew years, Blackmore performed as a house musician at the Star Club in Hamburg. In 1968 he received a telegram from Chris Curtis of The Searchers, urging that he return to London and meet two young men who were keen on forming a band.

The young men were Jon Lord and Ian Paice and the band, of course, was Deep Purple. For years the Purples reigned as one of Great Britain's outstanding experts. In 1973, the year of "Smoke on the Water," they sold fourteen million record albums worldwide.

It had been no great secret that Blackmore didn't associate with, and wasn't very friendly with other Deep Purple members. Finally, after a monumental battle of egos, Blackmore announced that he was leaving to form his own new group - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. With vocalist Ronnie Dio and a rhythm section, he flew to Munich last Spring. Six weeks later they emerged from Musikland Studios with 'Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow', their debut on Polydor.

Blackmore will appear with his new group on Saturday, November 15. Opening Act will be Argent, a show in itself.

The Villanovan - November 1975







Rainbow
Rainbow Turns Pale At Tower

Tower, Philadelphia PA - November 15, 1975


It had the makings of a great evening. You knew when Ritchie Blackmore stepped on stage you would be besieged by smoke, fire, bombs and volume. When the show was moved back a week to permit proper stage preparations, you figured dark glasses might be in order. When the show was moved back an additional hour though, you feared there may be trouble. There was.

Settled down in your seat, feeling just great, the lights went out and the electricity began. A loud droan accompanied by the toll of a bell introduced the opener, Argent. You hadn't heard many of the songs, but were entertained by a classy blend of funk plus rock'n'roll. Rod Argent played a steady keyboard which, accompanied by impressive guitar work, comprised a genuinely satisfying opening set.

Now Blackmore was coming up. It had to be tremendous. There was a huge rainbow arched triumphantly over the stage and four marshall amps over where Blackmore usually stands. A fight breaks out behind you and as you turn to see the action you're greeted by hosts of neo eyes. Yes, everything was perfect for the occasion. Finally, after a very long wait, the show begins.

The curtain ascends and the crowd gasps at a backdrop of castles under stars and a quarter moon, colors flashed magnificently across the rainbow and amidst streams yellow light, Ritchie Blackmore achieves the stage. Leering at the crowd, he turns up that stratocaster but something is wrong. Above the ordinarily clear, crisp Blackmore sound is a mysterious cosmos pervading buzz. It seems to be coming from one of the marshalls and is bothering the hell out of Blackmore. After two songs he leaves the stage for repairs. An agonizing hour passes before the crowd is told the lights interfered with the speakers. Thus the elaborate light show, that demanded weeks of preparation was now just ordinary.

The Rainbow played pretty well though. Despite all else, Blackmore did a good job. He's one of those guys who just seems to look good with a guitar. He got down hard, but it was useless. No one could salvage the evening at this point. The crowd was dischanted and the band felt it, resulting in a very short set and no encore. Too bad. It really could have been a great show but turned out to be a disaster. You can't blame Blackmore though. The crowd was simply beyond responsiveness. So we can only sit back and await a hopefully triumphant return of the Rainbow. As it was though, they were the first band to be outplayed by a buzzing amplifier.

Jack McDaniel, The Villanovan - November 19, 1975







Rainbow
Rainbow Over Tower

Tower, Philadelphia PA - November 15, 1975


On Saturday, Nov. 15, Blackmore's Rainbow played the Tower Theatre to a more than sold out crowd, as Midnight Sun wraps up its stay at the Tower. The music world has been waiting anxiously for this band, ever since Blackmore left Deep Purple early last spring. The original band which featured the entire band of Elf, was picked up by Blackmore to record what was actually meant to be a solo album.

After some time with them, Ritchie Blackmore announced he was leaving Deep Purple to form his own band with the members of Elf. As you recall, Blackmore was lead guitarist with Purple ever since 1968, when they hit big with Hush.

Purple became one of the premier heavy metal bands second only (depends who you ask) to Led Zeppelin. One of the driving forces of the band being Blackmore's stinging guitar. Purple's career was always a turbulent one, the reasons being Blackmore's temper. On two different occassions Purple's personnel was changed due to Blackmore.

Once again not satisfied in the direction Purple was going, Blackmore handed in his notice. With the addition of Elf, an album was recorded and released early this summer simply entitled Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. The album is one of the best rock albums released this year.

Everything was moving smoothly, the band was preparing a tour of the states, and it seemed Blackmore found what he wanted. In early September, Blackmore fired the entire band with the exception of vocalist Ronnie James Dio. (See Nov. 6 of Vanguard).

The critics instantly marked him for rocks next band to bite the dust. With the addition of some English musicians, Rainbow set out on a tour of medium sized halls here in America.

When Rainbow finally hit the Tower last Saturday, the speculation was there. The critics were waiting to see Blackmore pull some kind of stunt, like not showing up, or walking off stage in mid-song. After a fine set by Argent, (by rights they should have headlined their own show) technical failures caused the first major delay of the evening. Oh the curse of the Marshalls! It seemed that one of Ritchie's mamouth amps gave up the ghost.

Rainbow finally hit the stage, to a wave of applause, smoke and coloured lights. Starting off with Do You Close Your Eyes, Rainbow set the pace for the evening. Ronnie Dio is a strong vocalist, in the tradition of Paul Rodgers, David Coverdale. You need a strong, husky voice to be heard over Blackmore. Dio was a much a star that evening, as was Blackmore. Blackmore stayed out of the way until it was time to do some fancy guitar picking. Self Portrait, which followed, showed that the band as a whole was a tight one.

16th Century Greensleeves, had Blackmore in the limelight, as the song brought to mind castles, knights, and crossbows. The guitar solo was phenomenal. The best Blackmore has done in a long while. Suddenly, Dio announced the band was leaving the stage for a few minutes, while the road crew took care of some problems with the light show. It seemed the huge rainbow which spanned across the stage off set the amps every time the lights passed through it. Whatever the case, it took them almost 45 minutes to correct it. This did nothing but put a damper on the crowd.

Rainbow did return, and launched right into Catch the Rainbow. Beautifully done with some echoes of Hendrix in the chordings similar to Angel. The band slammed right into Man on a Silver Mountain with Blackmore putting in those power chords and riffs. The kind he is famous for.

Rainbow has some fine musicians in it besides Blackmore and Dio. Jimmy Bain is on bass and vocals, and Cozy Powell is on drums. Powell is well known for holding down the beat with Jeff Beck and later with Bedlam. Tony Kerry was on keyboards, and did a fine solo-introduction for a new song, Star Gazer. The song moved well till the end when it seemed to lose all direction.

Blackmore pulled it back together with their rendition of the old Yardbirds hit, Still I'm sad. He got off some fine guitar run in that one. Cozy Powell got a chance to show he is a heavy drummer with a fine solo played along with a tape of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture played in synchromesh with the drum solo. Powell handled all of the percussion parts including the cannons.

Slipping back to the song, the band finished up with a blast. Blackmore let lose with one final fantastic solo. Unfortunately, no encore was presented. They had enough problems that evening without further adding to it.

What ever you may think of Ritchie Blackmore, he is a fine guitarist. No one can take that away from him. Rainbow is a fine band made up of excellent musicians who know their trade. Only time will tell if Blackmore has found his pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow.

Art Connor, Vanguard, December 9, 1975







Rainbow
Community Theater, Berkeley CA - November 28, 1975


One of the greatest concerts that I attended ever, was Rainbow at The Berkeley Community Theater in 1975. It was between Fleetwood Mac in San Francisco or Ritchie's new band, as both shows were on the same night.

The entire crew voted for Rainbow. This was a very wise choice by a bunch of acid-fried loonies... Rainbow, was THE show of the mid 70's that could not be topped by any other band in the world.

Philip S Wolf





Rainbow
Rainbow Arcs Over Sellout Sky

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium - November 29, 1975


The prevailing stripe in Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is of a Deep Purple hue, precisely the color anticipated and eagerly devoured by the sellout Santa Monica Civic audience Saturday night. There Blackmore predictably but vigorously fulfilled the fans' expectations with a show damaging enough to eyes, ears, nose and throat to qualify as first-rate heavy metal.

Though he essentially remains within the popular formula, Blackmore's move from Purple to his own group has its benefits. The band -unknowns except drummer Cozy Powell- emits spunk and scrappiness, a distinct advantage in a field populated by stale, established elders.

And several of Rainbow's songs weave in some threads traceable to the Yardbirds and, by extension, Led Zeppelin, providing the set with a bit of variety, atmosphere and melodic interest. That side was eventually inundated by the basic Blackmore blitz, but that direction holds the most promise for Rainbow at the creative level.

Blackmore, the sullen Fender flash, is the poseur's poseur, but for all his blatancy, his withdrawn manner does cultivate an effective aura of tension. Unfortunately his showy devices (the wrinkles this time included sliding one live guitar up and down the neck of another, as well as his standard behind-the-back moves) didn't release the tautness as powerfully as would a genuine personality explosion.

Rainbow's penchant for excess did the most damage not to the music itself but to the structure of the show, which roared on redundantly long after it had hit its peak and settled down again. A call for restraint, then, is in order, after which we'll eat some green cheese that fell from the moon.

Richard Cromelin, L.A. Times, December 1975

[Thanks to: Tonny Steenhagen for the scans]






Rainbow
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium - November 29, 1975


RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S Rainbow had its debut at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium recently, and while it was not the shattering and wonderful excursion it should have been, it was one of the stronger rock presentations in years.

Since the release of "Rainbow", Blackmore terminated the services of that entire band (with the exception of singer Ronnie Dio) and the display put on by the new outfit proved the move was worthwhile. With the exception of Jeff Beck, Blackmore is the most mobile, energetic, and innovative character playing guitar and it was precisely for these reasons that the show was not completely up to snuff. He seemed more interested in the moves than he did in the actual playing, which is an aspect of his guitarmanship he always places in the back seat. Rather than getting out there and producing the kind of classical-cum-rock magic he's capable of, he dilly-dallyed around the guitar neck and did not even complete what could have been sensational guitar phrases and runs.

New drummer Cozy Powell was monstrous as he wielded drum sticks resembling baseball bats and laid down a solid locomotive beat. His interplay with Blackmore after just eleven shows was remarkable. A drum solo near the end of the show came complete with dry ice smoke, flash bombs, and strobe lights.

Material consisted mainly of the "Rainbow" album, and included "Man On The Silver Mountain," "Catch The Rainbow," and "Still I'm Sad" (which was dedicated to racing driver Graham Hill). A new piece titled "Stargazer" showed Ritchie branching out into lengthier and more complex music and managed to whip up some interesting (if not too emotional) guitar.

Ritchie Blackmore is a master, a shadowy figure on stage whose fingers have coughed up some remarkable guitar. As a musician his career is really just beginning and one can be sure that on his next trip around the show will be every bit as powerful as he is.

Todd Everet, New Musical Express, December 27, 1975






Rainbow
Rock fans left out in cold

Swing Auditorium, San Bernadino CA - November 30, 1975


Between 50 and 100 persons showed up at the National Orange Show's Swing Auditorium Sunday night for a concert — but there was no concert. Those who gathered around the entrance way — among them a Sun-Telegram reviewer — carried tickets for a 8 p.m. performance by Ritchie Blackmore, former lead guitarist of the Deep Purple Rock band.

Police Sgt Brad Milder said many of them were from the Los Angeles area and were "a little upset" The entertainment seekers told Milder they had not heard of any cancellation of the show. What caused the snafu was not immediately know. The Orange Show officials reached Sunday night said they were not aware that a concert had been scheduled. The Sun-Telegram could not reach persons responsible for the bookings at the Swing Auditorium.

The San Bernardino County Sun, December 1, 1975






Rainbow
Confusion explained on canceled concert

Swing Auditorium, San Bernadino CA - November 30, 1975


A Sunday concert for Blackmore's Rainbowrock band at Swing Auditorium herehad actually been canceled last Wednesday but the cancellation notices did not-and do not always as a rule-get to those who bought tickets. That was an Orange Showofficial's explanation for a misque which led 50 to 100 persons to the gates of the auditorium Sunday evening thinking the performance was to be held. Many were from the Los Angeles area, according to San Bernardino police.

Bob Lewis, Orange Show ticket manager, said the show was canceled because only 342 tickets had been sold, 191 of which were bought through ticket agencies by persons outside the San Bernardino and Riverside areas. He also said he posted notices outside the Swing Auditorium and generally relies on word-of-mouth for notification.

Those buying tickets out of the local area are not given any information about the cancellation through corrected radio advertisements, for example, unless the concert is one that would have attracted a large crowd, Lewis said. "Even if they were to run ads, there are still going to be people show up," Lewis said. "There is really no way to tell all these people."

In view of Sunday night's turnout, however, Lewis said the Orange Show would review policies on cancellation notices. He said all ticket money would be refunded to purchasers at agencies where they bought tickets.

The San Bernardino County Sun, December 2, 1975

[Thanks to: Tonny Steenhagen for the scans]